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Big chance to come up with big ideas to make a big impact
Wednesday 21st August, 2013

The deadline for a scheme offering volunteers money to tackle some of Wigan Borough’s biggest social problems has been extended after more than a hundred applications were received in the first month.

Wigan Council launched its Community Investment Fund in June and since then has been inundated with suggestions from voluntary organisations, groups and individuals. The council has put £2million into the scheme and wants “big ideas” to help address issues such as youth crime, obesity and unemployment.

More than a hundred initial expressions of interest have been received from charities, residents’ groups and start-up businesses. The response has been so big the deadline for final applications has now been extended until Friday 30 August.

A series of workshops have been held to develop ideas and hone applications. One to one support is still available to any organisations that couldn’t attend the workshops but would still like some support. The next step is a formal application and then the money will be allocated by a “Dragon’s Den” style panel made up of council officials and community leaders.

Leader of Wigan Council, Lord Peter Smith, said: “The response from the people of Wigan Borough has been exceptional. There have been some truly inspired ideas, which proves we were right to look to the community for answers to the borough’s complex social issues.

“We’re extending the deadline because we’ve been so overwhelmed by the response and want to give more people an opportunity to get involved.

“We want ideas to transform our neighbourhoods. We know the council doesn’t have all the answers and we certainly no longer have the resources to do everything we’d like to. So this is about taking a new, people-led approach to some of our serious social issues.”

The fund has been paid for from the council’s financial reserves. Information about how to apply is available online at the council’s website www.wigan.gov.uk/bigidea.

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